The notion that center fielder Josh Hamilton would miraculously overcome "extreme pain" in the vicinity of his rib cage and recuperate in a timely enough manner to completely avoid placement on the 15-day disabled list never struck me as a particularly realistic one, and that skepticism proved well-founded on Friday afternoon when the Texas Rangers shelved their ailing slugger and correspondingly opted to bolster their catching depth.
Diagnosed with a left intercostal muscle strain by team physician Dr. Keith Meister on Tuesday, Hamilton was subject to a rest-and-medication plan designed to accelerate his return to availability, and reported improvement as recently as Thursday; Texas ulltimately elected for a more conservative approach with their superstar, however, and the onset of catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia's eye irritation -- which is in no way related to his previous bout with vertigo, according to Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus -- made the decision to promote Max Ramirez from Triple-A Oklahoma City a simple one.
The power-deficient nature of Ramirez's bat during his time with the RedHawks in 2009 (.234/.275/.328 in 64 at-bats) is, to some extent, a consequence of his commitment to the defensive element of his game; however, the presence of Taylor Teagarden should ensure that Ramirez will be restricted solely to pinch-hitting and emergency catching duties during his presumably brief stint in Arlington, and once Saltalamacchia overcomes his vision problems it's probable that we'll see Ramirez replaced by RedHawks outfielder Brandon Boggs.
Hamilton's offensive inepititude through his first 71 plate appearances of the 2009 regular season is troubling from the standpoint that he's swinging -- and coming up empty -- far more often than he did last season, a problem which can stem from (a) unsynced hitting mechanics and/or (b) bad luck and/or (c) poor pitch recognition and/or (d) the league catching up. Two of those can be readily addressed with his return to full health and perhaps a minor league rehab assignment in a lower-pressure environment, the latter of which might be of particular value given how Hamilton has had the appearance of a hitter futilely pressing for quite some time now.
Quick Hits: Right-hander Vicente Padilla attributes the decline in the velocity of his fastball during his most recent start to the "warm, muggy" environment and deletrious wind patterns for pitchers ... Right-hander Derrick Turnbow has exercised the opt-out provision in his minor league deal (which allowed him to request his release if not present on the major league roster by May 1st) and has taken his free agency; Turnbow walked nine and struck out just one batter during his 6.1 innings at Triple-A Oklahoma City ... The Hicks Sports Group has sold the Mesquite Championship Rodeo; financial details of the transaction were not disclosed, but the selling price was reportedly less than $10 million.